The Big 12 suffered an unusually high number of quarterback graduations after last season. Reigning Heisman winner Baker Mayfield is of course gone. But so too are Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, TCU’s Kenny Hill, Texas Tech’s Nic Shimonek, to graduation, and Baylor’s Zach Smith, to a transfer.
All told, five of the Big 12’s top six passers from 2017 are no longer in the league. The sixth is West Virginia’s Will Grier, who ranked third in the conference with 317.3 yards per game in 11 games last season. The next-highest ranked returning passer is Texas’s Sam Ehlinger, who averaged 212.8 yards in nine games.
So while it seems a shoe-in that Grier will be the 2018 Preseason First Team All-Big 12 quarterback, West Virginia has its eyes much higher than that. Grier has garnered early mention as the consensus First Team All-American signal caller, but WVU wants to make him the school’s first Heisman winner, or at least get him in the conversation.
The school will launch a full-on campaign on July 7, but until then the Mountaineers have produced this hype video.
Grier enters 2018 as the nation’s second-leading returning passer, trailing only Arkansas State’s Justice Hansen, while pairing a 34-to-12 touchdown-to-interception ratio on a stellar 9.0 yards per attempt to go with his 317 yards per game. Paired with the nation’s leading returning touchdown maker in David Sills V (60 grabs for 980 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2017), West Virginia enters 2018 as a legitimate Big 12 and College Football Playoff contender.
And if Grier is to remain in the Heisman conversation, West Virginia is going to have to remain in the championship hunt.